City Council appears to be moving away from the outdoor dining structures that served as a lifeline for restaurants during the pandemic — and became a lightning rod for citywide debates around parking, rats, noise, and homelessness. Under a new proposal, the city’s outdoor dining program, first introduced as a temporary measure in 2020, would become permanent, but streetside sheds would only be allowed seasonally, Streetsblog reports. (Outdoor dining on the sidewalk would be allowed year-round.) The proposal, which is expected to come before lawmakers in March, is a revised version of the original bid to make outdoor dining permanent, which was stalled more than a year ago.
Find street cart barbacoa at a new spot in the Bronx
There’s a new food cart on the corner of Fordham Road and East Kingsbridge Road in the Bronx. Tacos Estilo Chilapeno, from owner Lucio Gonazlez, specializes in beef barbacoa prepared in the style of his native Chilapa, Guerrero. Gonzalez, who was the subject of an article in the New York Times in 2021, was previously fined more than $2,000 for vending. An anonymous reader paid off those fees, and he’s since purchased a used cart to open the new business, per the Street Vendor Project. Hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.
A new bar is on the way from the team behind the Spaniard
Sleeping Giant, the hospitality group behind cocktail bars the Spaniard and the Bonnie, has a new spot in the works. Albert’s Bar, slated to open next month at 140 E. 41st Street, near Lexington Avenue, wants to be a drinking destination for the area, according to a spokesperson. Expect riffs on the spritz, martini, negroni, and other cocktails, with a substantial food menu that lists clams casino and double-deluxe burgers.
A vegan diner gets a second shot
East Williamsburg’s “vegan junk food” spot Champs Diner, which closed last month after 12 years, will reopen on Friday as Ro’s Diner. The restaurant is reopening in the same space at 197 Meserole Street, between Bushwick Avenue and Humboldt Street, now run by chef Ro Seaward, who oversaw the kitchen at Champs for over five years. The menu will be similar and many of the diner’s former employees will be returning, according to Brooklyn Vegan.